Pilot John Gillespie Magee, Jr. wrote this sonnet three months before he was killed at age 19, when his Spitfire collided with another plane on 11 December 1941.
Today when I was flying home from Panama City Florida to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (via Baltimore), I remembered we had to memorize and recite this poem in Mrs. Stewart’s Sixth Grade at Morris Plains Borough School 1963.
True, I wasn’t the pilot but man’s ability to fly is astounding to me.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
First image shot with iPhone The rest shot with a Canon 50D
It was a great day to fly.
Above the fruited plain……..